Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

via Bill Gates vs. freedom

Bill Gates Versus Freedom-You DO NOT Want To Skip Reading This…You NEED To Know What It Is Warning You About
By Jon Rappoport 03/06/18: OR:

“Under the surface of this global civilization, a great and secret war is taking place.

The two opponents hold different conceptions of Reality.

On one side, those who claim that humans operate purely on the basis of stimulus-response, like machines; on the other side, those who believe there is a gigantic thing called freedom.

Phase One of the war is already over.

The stimulus-response people have won.

In Phase Two, people are waking up to the far-reaching and devastating consequences of the Pavlovian program.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

“From the moment the first leader of the first clan in human history took charge, he busied himself with this question:

‘What can I say and do that will make my people react the way I want them to.’

He was the first Pavlov.

He was the first psychologist, the first propagandist, the first mind-control boss.

His was the first little empire.

Since then, only the means and methods have changed.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

A thought-form is a picture-plus concept in the mind that tends to guide behavior.

A dominant thought-form in Earth civilization today is: universal rule through gigantic, highly organized structures; e.g., mega-corporations that owe no allegiance to any nation.

Imagine a few thousand such corporations with interlocking boards and directorates; colluding with super-regional governments and their honeycombed bureaucracies; combined with regional armies, intelligence agencies and technological elites; hooked to a global surveillance operation; in control of media; cooperating with the largest organized religions on Earth.

Imagine all this as essentially one organization—and you see the thought-form in its wide-screen version.

Top-down as top-down has never been before.

Functions and compartments defined and specialized at every level, and coordinated in order to carry out policy decisions.

As to why such a thought-form should come to dominate human affairs, the simplest explanation is: because it works.

But beneath that answer, for those who can see, there is much, much more.

Individuals come to think that “effective” and “instrumental” and “efficient” are more important than any other issues.

Keep building, keep expanding, keep consolidating gains—and above all else, keep organizing.

Such notions and thought-forms replace life itself.

The Machine has come to the fore.

All questions are now about how the individual sees himself fitting into the structure and function of The Machine.

Are human beings becoming social constructs?

Populations are undergoing a quiet revolution.

We can cite some of the reasons: television; education; job training and employment requirements; the Surveillance State; government organizations who follow a “zero tolerance” policy; inundation with advertising.

Yes, it’s all geared to produce people who are artificial constructs.

And this is just the beginning.

There are a number of companies (see, for example, who are dedicated to measuring “audience response” to ads and other public messages.

I’m talking about electronic measuring.

The use of bracelets, for instance, that record students’ emotional responses to teachers in classrooms, in real time. (Bill Gates shoveled grant money into several of these studies.)

Then there is facial recognition geared to the task of revealing how people are reacting when they sit at their computers.

Push-pull, ring the bell, watch the dog drool for his food.


It’s not much of a stretch to envision, up the road a few years, whole populations more than willing to volunteer for this kind of mass experimentation.

But further than that, we could see society itself embrace, culturally, the ongoing measurement of stimuli and responses.

“Yes, I want to live like this. I want to be inside the system.

I want to be analyzed.

I want to be evaluated.

I want to accept the results.

I want to be part of the new culture.

Put bracelets on me.

Measure my eye movements, my throat twitches that indicate what I’m thinking, and my brain waves.

Going to a movie should include the experience of wearing electrodes that record my second-to-second reactions to what’s happening on the screen.

I like that.

I look forward to it…”

In such a culture, “Surveillance State” would take on a whole new dimension.

“Sir, I want to report a malfunction in my television set.

I notice the monitoring equipment that tracks my responses to programs has gone on the blink.

I want it reattached as soon as possible.

Can you fix it remotely, or do you need to send a repair person out to the house?

I’ll be here all day…”

People will take pride in their ongoing role as social constructs, just as they now take pride in owning a quality brand of car.

The thought process behind this, in so far as any thought at all takes place, goes something like:

“If I’m really a bundle of responses to stimuli and nothing more, then I want to be inside a system that champions that fact and records it…I don’t want to be left out in the cold.”

Here is a sample school situation of the near future: for six months, Mr. Jones, the teacher, has been videotaped, moment by moment, as he instructs his class in English.

All the students have been wearing electronic bracelets, and their real time emotional responses (interest, boredom, aversion) have also been recorded.

A team of specialists has analyzed the six months of video, matching it up, second by second, to the students’ responses.

The teacher is called in for a conference.

“Mr. Jones, we now know what you’re doing that works and what you’re doing that doesn’t work.

We know exactly what students are positively reacting to, and what bores them.

Therefore, we’re going to put you into a re-ed seminar, where you’ll learn precisely how to teach your classes from now on, to maximize your effectiveness.

We’ll show you how to move your hands, what tone of voice to use, how to stand, when to make eye contact, and so on…”

Mr. Jones is now a quacking duck.

He will be trained how to quack “for the greater good.”

He is now a machine toy.

Whatever is left of his passion, his intelligence, his free will, his spontaneous insights, his drive to make students actually understand what they’re learning…all subordinated for the sake of supposed efficiency.

Think this is an extreme fantasy?

See the Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2012, “Biosensors to monitor students’ attentiveness”:

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured more than $4 billion into efforts to transform public education in the U.S., is pushing to develop an ‘engagement pedometer.’

Biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students would identify which classroom moments excite and interest them — and which fall flat.”

“The foundation has given $1.4 million in grants to several university researchers to begin testing the devices in middle-school classrooms this fall [2012].”

“The biometric bracelets, produced by a Massachusetts startup company, Affectiva Inc, send a small current across the skin and then measure subtle changes in electrical charges as the sympathetic nervous system responds to stimuli.

The wireless devices have been used in pilot tests to gauge consumers’ emotional response to advertising.”

“Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out.”

“Existing measures of student engagement, such as videotaping classes for expert review or simply asking kids what they liked in a lesson, ‘only get us so far,’ said Debbie Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Gates Foundation.

To truly improve teaching and learning, she said, ‘we need universal, valid, reliable and practical instruments’ such as the biosensors.”

“The Gates Foundation has spent two years videotaping 20,000 classroom lessons and breaking them down, minute by minute, to analyze how each teacher presents material and how those techniques affect student test scores.”

“Clemson received about $500,000 in Gates funding.

Another $620,000 will support an MIT scientist, John Gabrieli, who aims to develop a scale to measure degrees of student engagement by comparing biosensor data to functional MRI brain scans [!] (using college students as subjects).”

When you boil it down, the world-view represented here has nothing to do with “caring about students.”

It has everything to do with the Pavlovian view of humans as biological machines.

What input yields what response?

How can people be shaped into predictable constructs?

As far as Gates is concerned, the underlying theme, as always, is: control.

In this new world, the process of thinking and comparing and independently judging, and the freedom to make individual choices…well, for whatever that was worth, we can’t encourage it for a whole society.

It’s too unpredictable.

We don’t have time for that sort of thing.

No, we have to achieve reduction.

We have to seek out lowest common denominators.

This is what universal surveillance is all about; the observation of those denominators and the variances from them—the outlying and therefore dangerous departures from the norm.

“Well, we’ve tracked Mr. Jones’ classroom for a year now, and we’ve collated all the measurements of reactions from the students.

It was a wonderful study.

But we did notice one thing.

All the students showed similar patterns of reactions over time…except two students.

We couldn’t fit them into the algorithms.

They seemed to be responding oppositely.

It was almost as if they were intentionally defecting from the group.

This signals some kind of disorder.

We need a name for it.

Is it Oppositional Defiance Disorder, or is it new?

We recommend attaching electrodes to those two students’ skulls, so we can get a better readout of their brain activity in real time.”

You see, everything must be analyzed on the basis of stimulus response.

Those two students are suffering from a brain problem.

They must be.

Because if they aren’t, if they have the ability to choose and decide how to respond, then they have free will, and that can’t be measured.

Much deeper, that also suggests an X-factor in humans, wherein the flow of chemicals and atoms and quarks and mesons and photons don’t tell the whole story.

The rest of the story would imply the existence of something that is…non-material…above and beyond push-pull cause and effect.

The gatekeepers of this world are obsessed with ruling that out.

They guard Reality itself, which is to say, their conception of Reality.

They are willing to spend untold amounts of money to make that Pavlovian conception universally accepted and universally loved.

Because they own that conception.

They are the self-appointed title holders.

They are the kings of that domain.

I feel obligated to inform them that their domain is much, much smaller than they think it is.

And in the fullness of time, which is very long, the domain is going to fall and crack and collapse and disintegrate.

And all their horses and all their men won’t be able to put it back together.

Eventually, a man like Bill Gates will be forgotten.

He’ll be a small footnote on a dusty page in a crumbling book in a dark room on a remote island.

A morbid venal fool who chased, for a brief moment, fool’s gold.

There is an irreducible thing.

It’s called freedom.

It is native to every individual.

Sometimes it rears its head in the middle of the night, and the dreamer awakes.

And he asks himself: what is my freedom for?

And then he begins a voyage that no device can record, measure, or analyze.

If he pursues it long enough, it takes him out of the labyrinth.

Pavlov wrote:

“Mankind will possess incalculable advantages and extraordinary control over human behavior when the scientific investigator will be able to subject his fellow men to the same external analysis he would employ for any natural object…”

Basically, Pavlov was promoting the idea that whatever an individual perceives and feels about his own experience is a confused mess and an obstruction.

Rather, the individual should ignore all that tripe, and instead, allow himself to be a “natural object,” see himself as a clean and simple response mechanism, as planned inputs cause him to behave in various ways.

In other words, then he will have no life.

Bill Gates and other elite planners are working toward this end.

When Ray Kurzweil talks about hooking brains up to super-computers, he is envisioning a process of downloading that goes beyond choice.

Somehow, automatically, the brain and the individual (he apparently believes they are the same thing) will receive inputs that translate into knowledge and even talent.

This is another fatuous version of Pavlov.

In Brave New World, Huxley wrote:

“Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels.

Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays.

By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold.

They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miner[s] and acetate silk spinners and steel workers.

Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies.

‘We condition them to thrive on heat’, concluded Mr. Foster.

‘Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it’.”


If researchers developed this technology, who could doubt that elite planners would push it forward?

It would be the culmination of their dream.

The freedom of the individual, his innate capacity to make wide-ranging choices, is the monkey wrench in the program.

It is anti-stimulus-response.

This is why you would have to search far and wide to find, in one school, anywhere, on any level, a course that examines and promotes individual freedom.

It is anathema to the plan.

It is the silver bullet for the vampire.

Freedom comes from Within the individual, not from Without.

On the level of political control, freedom emerged and broke through during centuries of struggle.

Now, and in the future, every individual carries that torch.

So it is incumbent on the individual to understand the scope and meaning and power of his own freedom, and to decide for himself what his freedom is FOR.

What will he choose to launch from that great space?


via A new reality is here

Jon Rappoport – 02/05/18: Also:

“The One Great Reality for Everyone has been fading away. The One has become the Many. What did you expect? This is what you get when you get freedom. Multi-dimensional Reality.” (The Magician Awakes, Jon Rappoport)

The new reality is Decentralized Power.

It’s not a distant hope.

It’s happening.

For one thing, I’m talking about major media and their crumbling power.

Shaping minds was once easy.

It’s not anymore.

These days, if you don’t like one alt-news site, there are 100,000 more.

Yes, we’re in the middle of a bumpy ride.

It’s not Santa Claus coming down the chimney with gifts for all.

Major media and social media are fighting back.

Their desperation is signaled in their efforts to use the label Fake News, and in open moves to censor news that’s “different.”

Don’t expect this battle to be easy.

The transition is a long one.

But take heart.

Be aware that things are changing around us.

Right now.

This decentralization will ultimately affect every individual, not just groups.

The Big Split will filter down to every human on the planet.

Don’t be timid about assessing this paradigm shift.

It’s gigantic.


That’s the con.

That’s the Globalist wet dream.

That would be replacing one form of mind control for another.

That would be a puerile version of New Age nonsense.

No, what is happening cuts much deeper.

People will say this shift is dangerous, because it supports the atomization and isolation of every individual.

Where are the ties that bind, they will say.

We must all agree on a program for a better future.

We must all come together.

These notions are merely the rear-guard action of minds trying to preserve the old way.

As individuals re-fit their own sense of reality, they find ways to reach across the divide and communicate with each other.

This is not an insoluble problem.


Yes, there are those who will see this new state of affairs as hopeless.

But keep in mind—such people are always interpreting life as hopeless.

They will grab every new development as “proof of failure.”

So be it.

The present and future are multiple realities.

Which is the actual definition of an open society.

Individuals, re-fitting and recreating and discovering their own perception of reality, is not a one-time one-stop shop.

It’s an ongoing process.

Fleeing the process to go back into the arms of centralized consensus is only a temporary diversion.

It will not hold.

The history of Western philosophy is one thinker after another trying to describe ultimate reality for everyone.

It’s this.

No, it’s that.

In every case, the power of the individual is basically ignored.

That farce has come to an end.

The decentralization of the media-apparatus is a sign of a much deeper trend.

THE INDIVIDUAL is front and center.

Trying to put that genie back in the bottle will not work.

It’s too late.

Now, every person will feel the need to develop his own reality.

It may start as a nagging minor impulse, but soon enough the impulse will light up.

It will come through as the Great Adventure.

Untold numbers of people are already at the starting gate, whining and moaning and complaining and commiserating.

And stalling.

But the dictum is loud and clear: FIND AND INVENT YOUR OWN REALITY.


“Well, I didn’t bargain for that. I was just defending freedom of the individual.”

But think it through.

Where does that freedom lead?

What does it point to?

The freedom to come to some new consensus that every soul will sign up for?

A way to toss that freedom on the junk heap?

A Disneyesque dream we can all swim in together?

What is freedom for?

It comes from and by the individual.

Toning it down to a set of convenient “new” shallow understandings “we can all share” will only be a temporary way-station.

I don’t write for people who are dedicated to The Ordinary.

I don’t write for defenders of a consensus.

I don’t write for people whose version of perspective extends three feet in front of their noses.

All along, for the past 17 years, on this site, I’ve been writing for people who are adventurous about their own futures.

The next 20, 50, 100, 1000 years are going to be very interesting.

Every possible effort will be made to shape the individual from an external point of control.

These efforts will seem to succeed—but they will be superseded by breakouts, which will move according to no system.

And the proposition that all these breakouts will be nothing more than bursts of primitive violence is shortsighted.

Something much deeper and higher is happening.

At the core, individuals are MAKING realities.

They’re inventing them.

This process is simultaneously grounded and soaring.

As Dostoevsky once advised, “Head in the clouds, feet in the mud.”

Technocrats like to imagine a future world where society is fitted together as a machine, an all-embracing mechanism powered at the flip of a switch.

But the more profound world, which is emerging, is decentralized.

Not one dream, but many, side by side.

Not dreams from the top of the food chain, but from independent individuals.

On top of that, the technology exists to help make every one of those individuals self-sufficient.

Education, in spite of programs drilling a small set of fatuous values into many heads, is also decentralizing.


Because more and more students are realizing they have to educate themselves, independently, on their own.

Hive consciousness will keep resurfacing to tempt the timid.

“Please, please, let me belong!”

But the innate psyche of the individual is more powerful than collective fantasies, in the long, long run.

The new reality of many realities is here.

via John Galt, Ayn Rand, mega-corporations, mega-government

[] By Jon Rappoport 01/17/18

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.

Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach.

Check your road and the nature of your battle.

The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.” (John Galt, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand)

Ayn Rand, the most hated and adored novelist of the 20th century.

Her 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged, proposes a radical effort by inventor John Galt, and his assembled creative colleagues, to withdraw from society and take their inventions with them.

Civilization is already crumbling, owing to the federal government and its cronies installing a socialism based on top-down domination and the theft of material and intellectual private property.

Galt decides that a head-on struggle with the government would be futile.

Instead, he wants to apply the coup de grace: remove the authentic creators from the scene and let the system implode.

Here are key Galt quotes from the novel:

“You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you’re incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others—that you’re unfit to exist in freedom, but fit to become an omnipotent ruler…”

“Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away?”

“The doctrine that ‘human rights’ are superior to ‘property rights’ simply means that some human beings have the right to make property out of others…”

“You called it selfish and cruel that men should trade value for value—you have now established an unselfish society where they trade extortion for extortion.

Your system is a legal civil war, where men gang up on one another and struggle for possession of the law, which they use as a club over rivals, till another gang wrests it from their clutch and clubs them with it in their turn, all of them clamoring protestations of service to an unnamed public’s unspecified good…”

Galt is the inventor of a revolutionary engine that can provide energy to the whole planet.

He created the engine.

He owns it.

The government, on the verge of an economic collapse, wants to take Galt’s engine from him and use it for “the greater good.”

Galt refuses.

The engine is his.

He knows, of course, that the government could do unpredictable things with that engine—they could, in fact, put it in a vault and bury it.

On the other hand, he could maintain control over his invention and sell the abundant energy—not with the objective of becoming a king or an oligarch—at a price he sets. And eventually, the world would be swimming in energy.

Agents of the government (who resemble CIA types) kidnap him and prepare to torture him, MKULTRA style, to get their hands on his engine—but at the last minute his friends rescue him, and they vanish to Galt Gulch, a hidden valley, where they wait for the government to cave in, collapse, thereby ushering in, by necessity, a truly free market.

Rand focuses on the creative individual and his private property, his own inventions.

This is one reason why leaders of collectivism and their addled followers hate her and her work.

They scream that every good thing in this world must be given away, which means that every good thing will be taken over by men who hate life and freedom and the individual, while pretending to be messianic altruists.

Among the addled followers of collectivism are people who believe they themselves are unable to earn a living, and therefore insist that “everything should be free.”

For decades now, an operation has been underway to convince more and more people (especially the young) to see themselves as dependent. As if that status were righteous, as if that status were a badge of honor.

This is an intense rejection of the free and independent individual.

“You didn’t build that” and “we’re all in this together” and other such inanities are sparks shot by weapons of degraded thought.

They intend to encircle humanity in a wretched fume of pretended helplessness.

Indeed, there is no intention to raise up the individual. Instead, there is a goal of sinking to the lowest common denominator—as if at the bottom of a stagnant lake lies some magic clue to the resurrection of the human species.

There, at last, beyond desperation, is the “sharing and caring” everyone has been seeking.

This is the core of a Church of Failure.

Because at the bottom, there is nothing but sludge.

And in this case, the fishermen of souls are casting their nets for participants in a half-light dystopia of abject need.

Endless need, never to be satisfied—the ultimate spiritual drug.

In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt wins.

Rand wrote about the ultimate victory of the individual, and that is why she is a silver bullet aimed at vampires.

She is called an extreme fantasist, because now we know that society is composed of groups, and each group has special needs and demands, and government exists to satisfy them.

Now we know that the individual is a delusional construction, an outmoded prop in a drama that was played out a long time ago.

The bright new world is collective.

Yes, isn’t it pleasant?

The present-day oligarchs are actually messiahs, and they head up huge organizations.

They no longer wander in the desert.

They own castles.

They collude with each other to manufacture rainbows for the masses.

Behind their masks, they plot greater and greater control of the population.

They even finance and stage protests against…whom?

Against any power that isn’t their own.

Against any power that isn’t the machine of government.

Because the government, you see, is the bringer of help for all who are suffering.

How does that work?

It doesn’t.

It promotes the most profound dependence ever seen on the face of the planet.

Control through “satisfying needs.”

And it’s “free.”

In your dreams.

This “free” is where the individual goes to surrender.

And because she saw that and so much more, and because she wrote about it in incendiary novels, she was hated.

Ayn Rand, 1905-1982.

Atlas Shrugged; The Fountainhead.

And now, as a backgrounder, I want to describe a point that Rand didn’t make with any force—a prime reason for the collapse of the free market she championed.

Government power and corporate power—the false dichotomy

For decades, people on the Left and Right have been arguing about where the real power is.



Some of these people even cite President’s Eisenhower’s famous warning about the excesses of the “military-industrial complex.”

Well, let’s see. “Industrial” means corporations.

“Military” means government, since the last time I looked the Pentagon was part of the Executive Branch.

So Eisenhower was talking about an ongoing partnership between the public and private sectors.

The federal government isn’t the helpless victim of corporations.

And corporations aren’t wilting under the dominating government.

They’re in it together.

When people on the Left promote their programs for “a better world,” they invoke a convenient case of amnesia about central government and its chronic collusion with mega-corporations.

It is the government, these Lefties believe, that will carry us forward into a more equitable future.


The same government that has been willingly carving up the country with corporations at its side?

The same government which, for decades, has been signing Globalist treaties and looking the other way, as millions of jobs have gone overseas?

That is the kinder, gentler force that wants only good things for the American people?

Perhaps that means good things for expanding Welfare recipients—but not for Americans who are looking for work and want to work.

Here is just one example of collusion, which occurred under a president many people believed finally understood the “helper” and “better world” role of government.

Barack Obama.

Who makes the huge number of drones and bombs and planes and supplies them to the military (government)?

Defense contractors, otherwise known as corporations.

It’s a comfortable marriage.

Buckle up.

The leftist Guardian (1/9/17):

“In 2016 [under Obama], US special [military] operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration.”

“…in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs.

This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.”

“As drone-warrior-in-chief, he [Obama] spread the use of drones outside the declared battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, mainly to Pakistan and Yemen. Obama authorized over 10 times more drone strikes than George W Bush, and automatically painted all males of military age in these regions as combatants, making them fair game for remote controlled killing.”


The champ of bombing.

But of course he was the prophet of a better world, a coming glorious revolution in which the downtrodden would be given their due, and past crimes and offenses would be healed.


And if Trump had lost and Hillary had ascended to the Oval Office, we would be closer to that “good revolution.”

Hillary, who along with Obama, destroyed the nation of Libya and turned it into a hellhole of chaos.

The weapons of that mass killing were manufactured by corporations.

Vast profits ensued.

Let’s look at one more example of government-corporate collusion, under that same president who best personified “a prophet for a better world and a new age.”

“Let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.” (Barack Obama, 2007, on the campaign trail)


In the last eight years, the global outcry against toxic Monsanto and the other biotech giants has accelerated—but not a significant peep emerged from the Obama White House.

And then Obama signed the bill dubbed The Dark Act.

It made GMO labels on food an exclusively federal matter—and those labels will be confusing, weak, and therefore meaningless for the majority of Americans.

The Dark Act is basically a free pass for the Monsanto Corporation and the other biotech giants.

After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in GMO food/pesticide issues—the USDA and the FDA:

At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.

As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto.

Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.

As the Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.

As the counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont.

As the head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had previously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture.

We should also remember that Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm.

That firm was counsel to Monsanto.

Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court.

The deck was stacked.

Obama hadn’t simply made honest mistakes.

Obama hadn’t just failed to exercise proper oversight in selecting appointees.

He was staking out territory on behalf of Monsanto and other GMO corporate giants.

And now let us look at what key Obama appointees have wrought for their true partners.

Let’s see what GMO crops walked through the open door of the Obama presidency.

* Monsanto GMO alfalfa.

* Monsanto GMO sugar beets.

* Monsanto GMO Bt soybean.

* Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol.

* Syngenta GMO stacked corn.

* Pioneer GMO soybean.

* Syngenta GMO Bt cotton.

* Bayer GMO cotton.

* ATryn, an anti-clotting agent from the milk of transgenic goats.

* A GMO papaya strain.

* Genetically engineered salmon.

This is an extraordinary parade.

Obama was, all along, a stealth operative working with Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, for corporate control of the future of agriculture.

He didn’t make that many key political appointments and allow that many new GMO crops to enter the food chain through a lack of oversight.

Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

Obama had been a covert Monsanto partner since the beginning.



These words fit Obama.

He doesn’t care that GMO food, with their rivers of toxic pesticides, are taking over the country and the world.

He obviously wants it to happen.

Government-corporate collusion and partnership.

Not one.

Not the other.



The dichotomy of government vs. mega-corporation is false.

Free market?

In your dreams.

Hallatar – No Stars Upon The Bridge (2017) This Is A Tribute Album For Aleah Liane Stanbridge Known Also As Aleah Starbridge Or Simply Aleah:,

Her Last Full Album Was The “Trees Of Eternity” Full Debut(Nov 2016-Three Months After Aleah’s Death At 39 Of Cancer):

Tracks For Hallatar:
01 – Mirrors (0:00)
02 – Raven’s Song (7:09)
03 – Melt (7:42)
04 – My Mistake (with Heike Langhans) (15:21)
05 – Pieces (22:06)
06 – Severed Eyes (23:28)
07 – The Maze (26:20)
08 – Spiral Gate (33:32)
09 – Dreams Burn Down (with Aleah Starbridge) (34:02)

Tracks For Trees Of Eternity:
1. My Requiem
2. Eye of Night
3. Condemned to Silence (feat. Mick Moss of Antimatter)
4. A Million Tears
5. Hour of the Nightingale
6. The Passage
7. Broken Mirror
8. Black Ocean
9. Sinking Ships
10 .Gallows Bird (feat. Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost)

Ric/Rex’s Comments: My first exposure to the vocals, poetry and lyrics of Aleah ‘Starbridge’ was on the Trees of Eternity’ Debut Album.

Musically, it’s called “Down-Tempo/Doom Metal” Or Melodic Black Metal-a highly dramatic and deeply introspective musical form.

I found it compelling on its own, but even more so because of the vocals, an angelic whisper of purest emotion one often had to strain to hear every word clearly, but a sound that cut to the heart, even more once you understood you were listening to the final works of a dying woman, so private, only those closest to her knew the battle she was waging…and ultimately losing.

Her musical and life partner, Juha Raivio, spoke of her upon the debut of the Tribute Album:

“After the death of my beloved and my life partner Aleah Starbridge last April, I have been gathering writings, lyrics, and the poems of Aleah to keep them safe and close to my heart.

About one month after the world came down on the blackest day of my life on April 18th, I knew I needed to pick up the guitar and try to create something or I would be truly destroyed.

And something did arrive out of the darkness, and I wrote the music for the HALLATAR album in a week’s time.

I don’t have much memory of this week, not a memory of a single day of writing the music.

But all I remember when going into this abyss of the writing process was a promise to myself that whatever music would come out, I would not touch or change anything of it afterwards.

What mattered was that the music would stay forever as an absolute truth of those moments as they came out.

I asked my good friends — and amazing musicians — Tomi Joutsen and Gas Lipstick if they would want to record this music with me, and both of them said yes without even hearing a note of it.

I am forever grateful to both of them for sharing this road with me; even the weight of the process has not been easy to carry, or will be.”

Says Gas Lipstick:

“I am grateful and very honored to be asked to join this band.

Juha is a dear friend of mine since many years ago, and when he told me about his vision for HALLATAR and asked me to join, I said yes instantly — I just had to be part of this amazing journey.

I had never heard a single note of the music before I gave my ‘yes’ because I didn’t need to.

Juha has been one of my favorite songwriters already for years, and I knew that HALLATAR will be a very deep, personal, and one-of-a-kind story which I wanted to help him to bring alive.”

Adds Tomi Joutsen:

“I have known Juha from the year 2007, when we worked together for the first time.

A couple years ago, I had the privilege to meet Juha’s life partner, Aleah Starbridge, who was such a beautiful person, inside and outside, and had an angelic voice out of this world.

Aleah lent her voice on the latest AMORPHIS album, and we called her ‘the whispering ghost.’

When I heard about Aleah’s passing last spring, it came as a total shock and heartbreaking news out of the blue.

When Juha asked me if I would want to be part of this album and carry Aleah’s flame with him, I didn’t have to think twice.

When everything has been taken, all that is left is the music.

The sorrow strips us naked and leave us humble — this is how it sounds like.”

Concluded Raivio:

“What we recorded was a raw moment in time honoring the memory, lyrics, and poems of Aleah Starbridge with all its pain, beauty and darkness.
There are no stars left upon the bridge to light the way anymore, but the music will always be a dim light, even in the darkest of the night.”


Aleah Liane Stanbridge:
BIRTH 1 Jul 1976 Eastern Cape, South Africa
DEATH 18 Apr 2016 Örebro län, Sweden

Swedish singer Aleah Liane Stanbridge passed away April 18th cause of death due to cancer.

Aleah was the lead singer for Trees Of Eternity, who were just working on their debut album, she also contributed as a guest vocalist for Amorphis, Under the Red Cloud and on the last studio album of Swallow The Sun, Songs From The North I, II & III, and first was noticed as a solo singer in 2007 with one demo released under the name Aleah.

She was born Julia Liane “Aleah” Stanbridge on the 1st of July 1976 in Cape Town, South Africa, to Roland and Gillian Stanbridge; And had moved to Örebro, Sweden.

Rest In Peace Sweet Angel Aleah

ONE HOT MORNING in May, Kiana Hernandez came to class early. She stood still outside the door, intensely scanning each face in the morning rush of shoulders, hats, and backpacks. She felt anxious. For more than eight months she had been thinking about what she was about to do, but she didn’t want it to be a big scene.

As her English teacher approached the door, she blocked him with her petite, slender frame. Then, in a soft voice, she said, “I’m sorry. I’m not going to take the test today.” The multiple-choice test that morning was one of 15 that year alone, and she’d found out it would be used primarily as part of her teacher’s job evaluation. She’d come into class, she said, but would spend the hour quietly studying.

The teacher stared at her dark-brown eyes in silence while students shuffled past. “That’s a mistake,” he said with a deep sigh.

By her own estimate, Kiana had spent about three months during each of her four years at University High in Orlando preparing for and taking standardized tests that determined everything from her GPA to her school’s fate. “These tests were cutting out class time,” she says. “We would stop whatever we were learning to prepare.” The spring of her senior year, she says, there were three whole months when she couldn’t get access to computers at school (she didn’t have one at home) to do homework or fill out college applications. They were always being used for testing.

Kiana had a 2.99 GPA and is heading to Otterbein University in Ohio this fall. She says she did well in regular classroom assignments and quizzes, but struggled with the standardized tests the district and state demanded. “Once you throw out the word ‘test,’ I freeze,” she tells me. “I get anxiety knowing that the tests count more than classwork or schoolwork. It’s a make or break kind of thing.”

Photo By Robyn Twomey

Junior year had been particularly hard. She’d failed the Florida reading test every year since sixth grade and had been placed in remedial classes where she was drilled on basic skills, like reading paragraphs to find the topic sentence and then filling in the right bubbles on a practice test. She didn’t get to read whole books like her peers in the regular class or practice her writing, analysis, and debating—skills she would need for the political science degree she dreamed of, or for the school board candidacy that she envisioned. (Sorting students into remedial classes, educational research shows, actually depresses achievement among African American and Latino students in many cases, yet it remains common practice.)

Kiana was living with her mother, and times were tough. Some days there was no food in the house. “The only thing that kept me going to school was my math teacher,” Kiana says. “The only place that I felt that I had worth was Mr. Katz’s class. That’s the thing that kept me going every day.”

On the news, Kiana saw pictures of students and parents carrying signs reading “Opt-Out: Boycott Standardized Testing.” Her high school didn’t have activists like that. In the library, Kiana made flyers that read: “Are you tired of taking time consuming and pointless tests? Boycott Benchmark Testing! When given the test, open the slip and do NOT pick up your pencil. Refuse to feed the system!” She passed them out to her classmates, but they were worried that opting out would hurt their GPAs.

Kiana talked about this with Mr. Katz, who regularly met with students who needed extra help during his lunch hour and after school. One day during their tutoring session, he mentioned Gandhi. Kiana went to the library and found some of Gandhi’s essays. She determined that what it took to make change was someone taking a personal stand.

Next, she researched state education rules and discovered that the end-of-course tests that Florida required in every subject were being used primarily for job evaluations. (She says one teacher told her: “Please take [the test]. My paycheck depends on it.”)

The English teacher started passing out the computer tablets used to take the test. He put one on her desk. Kiana raised her hand. “I’m sorry,” she said again. “I’m not going to take this test.”

The noise dropped abruptly.

“You should wait until you are done with high school before you try to change the world,” the teacher said.

Kiana reached into her backpack and pulled out a notebook to prepare for her psychology final.

CRITICS HAVE LONG warned that a flood of standardized testing is distorting American education. But in recent months, an unprecedented number of students like Kiana, along with teachers and parents across the country, have chosen to take matters into their own hands—by simply refusing to take part.

“This school year saw by far some of the largest numbers of families opting out from standardized tests in history,” Bob Schaeffer, director of public education at the advocacy group, told me this spring. In New Jersey, 15 percent of high school students chose not to take state tests in the 2014-15 school year. In New York state, only a few districts reported meeting 95 percent participation, the minimum required by federal rules, according to aNew York Times investigation. There are opt-out activists in every state, and in Florida—thanks in part to the hardcore pro-testing policies implemented by former Gov. Jeb Bush—the backlash is especially severe.

“Half the counties in Florida have an opt-out group,” Cindy Hamilton, a parent and cofounder of Opt Out Orlando, told me. She said her group is not against tests per se, but against the process being taken out of the hands of teachers and schools and turned over to outside vendors. (As NPR’s Anya Kamenetz has documented, the testing industry, controlled by a handful of companies such as CBT/McGraw-Hill, Harcourt, and Pearson, has grown from$263 million worth of sales in 1997 to $2 billion.) “Our movement,” Hamilton said, “is civil disobedience against the gathering of all of this data by for-profit companies that doesn’t help students learn.”

Students in American public schools today take more standardized tests than their peers in any other industrialized country. A 2014 survey of 14 large districts by the Center for American Progress found that third- to eighth-graders take 10 standardized tests each year on average, and some take up to 20. By contrast, students in Europe rarely encounter multiple-choice questions in their national assessments and instead write essays that are graded by trained educators. Students in England, New Zealand, and Singapore are also evaluated through projects like presentations, science investigations, and collaborative assignments, designed to both mimic what professionals do in the real world and provide data on what students are learning.

In the past three years, I interviewed hundreds of students across the nation while reporting my book, Mission High. In schools both urban and suburban, affluent and struggling, students told me that preparing for such tests cut into things that advanced their education—projects, field trips, and electives like music or computer classes.

“Testing felt like such a waste,” Alexia Garcia, a 2013 graduate of Lincoln High in Portland, Oregon, told me. “It felt really irrelevant and disconnected from what we were doing in classes.” As a senior, Garcia became a lead organizer with the Portland Student Union, a coalition with members in 12 area high schools that has been one of the most visible student groups in the national student opt-out movement. Garcia, who is now at Vassar College, told me that this year—thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement—students are also increasingly talking about how standardized testing contributes to inequality and ultimately the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Joshua Katz, Kiana Hernandez’s math teacher, says he tests his students using a variety of challenges and quizzes, but the only ones that officially count are the fill-in-the-bubble variety. “They tell me I must have data, and they don’t consider tests data unless it comes from multiple-choice,” Katz told me.

Every nine weeks, Katz has to stop whatever his students are doing and make time for the district’s benchmark tests measuring student progress toward the big Common Core exam in the spring. (Proponents of the Common Core standards, now in place in 43 states, promised fewer tests and less of a focus on multiple-choice. But most of the teachers told me there had been no change in the number of standardized assessments. “This year was a circus—16 weeks of testing scheduled at the high school level,” Katz said.)

And University High, whose neighborhood and student population is largely middle class, didn’t bear as heavy a load of tests and drills as its poorer counterparts: One recent study found that urban high school students spend 266 percent more time taking district-level exams than their suburban counterparts. That’s in part because the stakes for these schools are so high: Test scores determine not just how much funding a school will get, but whether it will be allowed to stay open at all. In response, some administrators have been taking desperate measures, including pushing the lowest-performing students out entirely. Suspensions have been growing across the country, especially among African American and Latino students, and many researchers correlate this with pressure to raise scores. And in the 2011-12 school year, the Government Accountability Office reported that officials in 33 states confirmed at least one instance of school staff flat-out cheating.

WITH SO MUCH controversy revolving around the effect of testing on struggling students and schools, it’s hard to remember that the movement’s original goal was to level the educational playing field. In 1965, as part of the War on Poverty, the Johnson administration sent extra federal funding to low-income schools, and in return asked for data to make sure the money was making an impact. As more states started using standardized tests in the 1970s and 1980s, urban education researchers were able to identify which schools were helping students of color and those from poor families achieve—giving the lie to the idea that these students couldn’t succeed.

By the late ’80s, many educators were pushing to deploy reliable, external data to measure student progress, a movement that culminated in the bipartisan support for President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative. With NCLB, states were required to gather and analyze vast amounts of testing data by race, ethnicity, and class. Researchers soon started mining this information, convinced that they could reveal what really worked in education. One 2006 study found that putting students in a top-rated teacher’s class raised average scores by 5 percentage points. Another connected increases in test scores to higher earning levels, lower pregnancy rates, and higher college acceptance rates.

Findings like this encouraged two major beliefs in policy circles: First, that test scores were a key factor in how students would do later in life. And second, that the best way to improve teaching was to reward the top performers and fire the bottom ones, based in large part on their students’ scores. High-profile charter schools like KIPP and Uncommon Schools, whose model relied in part on avoiding teacher tenure, helped cement that belief.

By 2009, President Barack Obama used his Race to the Top initiative to promote using test scores to hire, fire, and compensate teachers. Today, 35 states require teacher evaluations to include these scores as a factor—and many states have introduced new tests just for this purpose. Until this year, Florida used end-of-course tests in virtually every subject to give bonuses to some teachers and punish others. When Kiana’s math teacher, Joshua Katz, was downgraded to “effective” from “highly effective” this year, his salary was slated to drop by $1,100.

But while using student test scores to rate teachers may seem intuitive, researchers say it actually flies in the face of the evidence: Decades of data indicates that better results come not from hiring innately better teachers, but from helping them improve through constant training and feedback. Perhaps that’s why no other nation in the world uses annual, standardized tests to set teacher salaries. (Other countries use test scores to push teachers to improve, but not to punish them.)

Nor do other developed nations have such a drastic gap in funding between rich and poor schools. Mission High School in San Francisco, for example, spends $9,780 per student, while schools in Palo Alto, just 30 miles away, spend $14,995. New York spends $19,818 per student, California just $9,220. The per student funding gap between rich and poor schools nationwide has grown 44 percent in the last decade—even as the number of needy students has grown. In 2013, for the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of US public school students came from low-income families.

In July, EdBuild released an analysis of child poverty in some 13,000 school districts nationwide. In the districts outlined in red, more than 40 percent of students came from impoverished households. EdBuild

All this presents a significant risk for a country that has relied on schools as the primary avenue for social mobility. Prudence L. Carter, a professor in the school of education at Stanford University, says in fact, kids have very different opportunities: Affluent students ride through the education system in what amounts to a high-speed elevator supported by well-paid teachers, intellectually challenging classes, and private tutors. Middle-class kids are on an escalator. Their parents may struggle to keep up, but still can access resources to help their children prepare for college. And then there are low-income students like Kiana, who are left running up a staircase with missing steps and no handrails.

When it comes to standardized testing, this means that schools that educate low-income students start out at a disadvantage: They are much more likely to have lower-paid and less-qualified teachers; lack college preparatory classes, books, and supplies; and offer fewer arts and sports programs. When their students don’t make it to the same “proficiency” benchmarks on yearly tests as their wealthier counterparts, politicians label them and their teachers as “failing.” And that begins a vicious cycle: Struggling students are pushed into remedial classes that zero in on what’s measured on the tests, further limiting their opportunities to learn the advanced skills they’ll need in college or the workplace.

“What I observed was egregious,” Ceresta Smith, a 26-year veteran teacher in Miami and a cofounder of United Opt Out National, told me about a predominantly African American, low-income school where she worked from 2008 to 2010. Some teachers tried to incorporate writing and intellectually engaging readings, she said, but most resorted to remediation of basic skills. “Students are reading random passages and practice picking the correct multiple-choice. It was very separate and unequal.”

The proponents of testing-based reform like to argue that—while imperfect—the current approach has been working better than any other, leading to rising graduation rates and standardized test scores. But as Stanford researcherLinda Darling-Hammond has pointed out, there’s a bit of circular logic at work here: A system singularly focused on producing better test scores leads to…better test scores. Meanwhile, though, American students’ performance compared to other nations—on tests that measure skills and knowledge more broadly—remained flat or declined between 2000 and 2012.

Most importantly, test-based accountability is failing on its most important mandate—eliminating the achievement gap between different groups of students. While racial gaps have narrowed slightly since 2001, they remain stubbornly large. The gaps in math and reading for African American and Latino students shrank far more dramatically before No Child Left Behind—when policies focused on equalizing funding and school integration, rather than on test scores. In the 1970s and ’80s, the achievement gap between black and white 13-year-olds was cut roughly in half nationwide. In the mid-’70s, the rates at which white, black, and Latino graduates attended college reached parity for the first and only time.

In the decades since, the encouraging news is that the black-white achievement gap has kept slowly shrinking. But at the same time, the gap between students from poor and affluent families has widened into a chasm, growing by 40 percent between 1985 and 2001. Sean Reardon, a Stanford professor who focuses on poverty and inequality in education, says this is not surprising—affluent families can spend more than ever on enrichment activities. He argues it’s up to government to level the playing field, by making sure low-­income students get the opportunity to succeed. But in many places, government is instead pulling back from the civil rights era’s focus on educational inequality.

Today, many students of color are once again going to segregated, high-poverty schools that struggle to offer advanced classes and attract teachers and counselors. Some 40 percent of black and Latino students now are in schools at which 90 to 100 percent of the student body are kids of color.

TO BE SURE, the test-based reform movement still has powerful proponents—politicians like Jeb Bush and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, philanthropists like Bill Gates, some teachers, and prominent civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and National Council of La Raza. “For the civil rights community, data provide the power to advocate for greater equality under the law,” a coalition of 12 groups argued in a recent joint statementcriticizing the opt-out movement. “We cannot fix what we cannot measure.” Some teachers I spoke to echoed that message: Lauren Fine, an elementary-school teacher in Denver, believes that without the standards and annual assessments, we won’t be able to maintain “a high bar for every student.” President Barack Obama agrees with this line of reasoning and recently saidthat as Congress debates rewriting the No Child Left Behind law, he won’t sign any bills that don’t include requirements for annual testing, accountability, and state interventions.

But a growing list of others, from the students and parents in the opt-out movement to youth and labor groups and education researchers, are arguing that the push for standardized testing has in fact exacerbated inequities.Journey for Justice is a coalition of grassroots youth and parent groups in 21 cities. “Our concern is that the people who are most directly impacted by these education policies are never consulted,” director Jitu Brown told me.

Brown, who saw firsthand the impact of the recent closures of 50 low-scoring schools in his native Chicago, says politicians should look at the real world rather than listening to “education entrepreneurs who are implementing mediocre interventions in our communities.” In Chicago, he notes, “you had young people being displaced as the one stable institution in our community was eliminated. You had the massive firing of black teachers, as if they were the problem—when equity never existed.”

SO ASSUME FOR A moment that the opt-outers succeed: We’d still need ways to improve teaching, assess what students are learning, and reduce the achievement gaps. How should that happen instead?

I found some answers as I spent two years in classrooms with Pirette McKamey, a highly respected teacher at Mission High, and Ajanee Greene, a bright, resilient senior who had just finished a powerful 10-page research paper—even though, as a freshman, she got a D in English at her old school. As I watched McKamey and her colleagues design lesson plans and pore over Ajanee’s writing together, I realized that a focus on accountability doesn’t have to sacrifice teachers’ growth or students’ love of learning.

One winter morning in 2013, McKamey and seven other teachers sat in an empty classroom at Mission High. A light February rain drummed against the windows as Shideh Etaat passed around roasted almonds and talked about her weekend plans. The teachers had convened for one of their three weekly planning hours. This one was dedicated to in-depth case studies of individual students’ math worksheets, essay drafts, and written notes for science lab investigations.

Etaat, a first-year English teacher, had brought in a poem written by a junior named Jay, who came to California from Thailand two years ago. “Jay is that student who will say, ‘Oh, I don’t write poetry. I’m not creative,'” Etaat said. “But I find that English learners are able to see outside of the box. They have an ability to play with language in this really creative way.”

Etaat explained that she’d given her students photos of five different pairs of shoes. She’d asked them to pick a pair they would not wear, and to create a character to go with them. She passed out the “scaffolding” documentation for her lesson—directions for how to develop a character, some sample stanzas, a poem she had written herself based on the assignment. Educational theorists call this teaching in the “zone of proximal development“: that place where we can’t progress by ourselves, but we can with targeted assistance and constructive feedback.

The wind whistled through the old window frames as the teachers read Jay’s poem.

My shoes look like a pair of cheap running shoes

Full of sweat and heat

In his shoes, he works hard every day

He sees himself working in the mud

And sleeping on the street with other hobos

In my shoes, I see a student running in the hallway

Trying to get his lunch as early as possible

In his shoes, he hears the heavy metal noise of his hammer

Striking at that thick jet black rock until it resolves

In my shoes, I hear the noisy noise coming out of the classroom

The sound of electronic devices and ceaseless hip hop music

In his shoes, he feels pain coming from his body,

The pain of loneliness and betrayal.

“It’s very hard to scaffold creativity just right,” said Dayna Soares, a second-year math teacher. “Sometimes teachers give you a blank paper and that’s too much freedom. I’m always struggling with this—how can I give my students just enough structure, but in a way that doesn’t make them fill in the blanks?”

They talked about the craft of grading and commenting on student work. When teachers provide feedback on writing, research shows, many default to a “what’s wrong with this paper” strategy, instead of writing responses that promote growth. “Every time a student does an assignment, they are communicating something about their thinking,” McKamey told the group. “And even if it’s far away from what I thought they’d do, they are still communicating the ways they are putting the pieces together. There are so many opportunities to miss certain students and not see them, not hear them, shut them down. It takes a lot of skill, experience, and patience not to do that.” Looking over multiple-choice questions doesn’t help teachers detect these signals, McKamey told me, because they won’t tell you where and why someone got stuck.

In other words: It’s not just students who miss out on a chance to learn when standardized tests set the pace. Teachers, too, lose opportunities to improve their craft and professional judgment—for example, detecting where their students’ thinking hits what McKamey calls a “knot” and figuring out how they can improve. That’s when many fall back on the only available option: repetitive instruction, more testing, and remediation.

What’s essential for teachers to grow, McKamey told me, is collaboration with fellow professionals—and that mutual accountability, she said, is more effective than test scores or even financial bonuses. “What teachers care about,” she said, “is the feedback they get from students, parents, and peers they respect.”

Max Anders, a first-year English teacher, told me that working with McKamey helped him learn how to teach every student individually. “My understanding before was you give work for the middle,” explained Anders, who was teaching Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” at the time. “But the best approach is to give rigorous work that challenges everyone and learn how to break it up and scaffold it just right.”

MCKAMEY’S SMALL, SUNLIT office is lined with binders filled with the lesson plans she has built up over the last 27 years of teaching, including one for Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War memoir, The Things They Carried. Every year she teaches the novel, McKamey adds material to the binder, because she learns new things from her students and colleagues each time. Underneath her heavy desk, three pairs of shoes sit neatly lined up: black loafers and Mary Janes for teaching and coaching, light-gray sneakers for dance class after school.

I talked to Ajanee Greene in that office one afternoon. Independent and astute, Ajanee wrote the strongest research papers in the English classes I’d been observing. She was about to become the first in her family to graduate from high school and had started filling out college applications.

From the moment she stepped into McKamey’s classroom, Ajanee told me, she started to feel like an intelligent person. “By middle school, I could tell which teacher is looking at my grades and test scores and is just teaching me basics without opportunities to challenge myself. Just because I struggle with some grammar rules doesn’t mean I can’t think deeply. Ms. McKamey believed in me and then pushed me to work really, really hard.”

Ajanee and McKamey had just finished their lunch meeting, an occasional check-in to talk about life and school. As McKamey left for a meeting, Ajanee told me that she’d chosen the topic for her paper—titled “Black on Black Violence: Why We Do This to Ourselves”—because she’d lost her stepfather and several close friends to gun violence.

For the paper, Ajanee had read and analyzed about 20 articles and studies and, with McKamey’s encouragement, had interviewed her neighbors and added her own point of view. She didn’t like how the local paper described her stepfather as a “flashy” man who had recently purchased a piece of new jewelry—implying, it seemed to her, that greed might have been the reason he’d been shot.

Ajanee wanted her readers to understand that her stepdad was a dedicated father of four who was home with his seven-year-old nephew when he was killed. The violence didn’t just affect the victims; it scarred the survivors, Ajanee wrote. “Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone can inflict. The violence stays with families and becomes a part of their lives. Nobody feels the same and family relationships get strained.” She also added a section on the history of slavery and Jim Crow, writing, “The epidemic of African Americans killing each other didn’t start because we just hate each other. It started when we began to believe the things other races said about us and began to hate ourselves.”

“When you go to school, you learn about math and reading, but you rarely learn new ways of looking and thinking about life,” Ajanee explained. “Learning the skills to research and write this paper helped me learn so much: how many people are dying, why they are dying, how to tell the stories of others and learn about the world. It gave me a better understanding.”

She got an A- for the paper. “When they told me the grade, I thought it must have been a mistake,” she says—she’d read her classmates’ drafts and didn’t think hers measured up. “Before this, the longest paper I wrote was three pages. Now, if I have to write 15 pages in college next year, I feel ready,” she told me. (That was in 2013. This year, after two years in community college, Ajanee transferred to Jackson State University in Mississippi.)

But as politicians, economists, and philanthropists focus on ever more sophisticated number crunching, opportunities for teachers to nurture students’ intellect the way McKamey does have grown more limited. Mission High teachers never complained to me about being overworked, but they worked more hours than anyone I met in the corporate world. For more than a decade, McKamey woke up at 5 a.m., got to school by 6:30, left for dance class at 4:30 p.m., and then worked almost every evening and every Sunday. Most teachers I met worked with students after school and colleagues on weekends, without pay.

And yet the story of Mission High holds out hope for a different kind of school reform—one that builds on resources that already exist in thousands of schools and doesn’t require spending a dime on the next generation of tests, software, or teacher evaluation forms. That’s because Mission has already been through exactly the kind of harsh treatment for “failing” schools that the standardized-testing movement supports—and then it found another way.

In the mid-1990s, Mission had rock-bottom test scores and was targeted by the district for “reconstitution.” The principal was removed and half the teachers were reassigned. Yet in 2001, the school once again had some of the lowest test scores and attendance rates among all of San Francisco’s high schools, and more teachers were leaving it than almost any other school in the district.

Then Mission High tried something new. Instead of bringing in consultants, it mobilized a small group of teachers—including McKamey—to lead reforms on their own. It increased paid time for them to plan lessons together, design assessments, and analyze outcomes. The teachers made videos of students talking about what kind of instruction helped them succeed. They read research about how integrated classes, personalized teaching, and culturally relevant curriculum increased achievement. They asked successful teachers to coach colleagues who needed help.

To focus their efforts and keep each other accountable, McKamey and her colleagues regularly pore over data, both qualitative and quantitative. They look at achievement gaps, attendance, referrals, graduation rates, and test scores. They also walk through classrooms, delve into student work, and interview teachers and students. “We are always looking at and trying to understand different kinds of data, including anecdotal,” McKamey told me. “Then we can settle on something we need to concentrate on each year.” One year, social studies teachers discovered that too many students didn’t fully grasp the difference between summarizing a text versus analyzing it, so they spent the next year building more opportunities to practice those skills. The math department, meanwhile, focused on one-on-one coaching to help set up effective group work.

By contrast, back in Florida, Katz told me that the typical way he receives professional development entails an observation of a model lesson by a district consultant demonstrating how to teach Common Core standards. While University High struggles to keep teachers, Mission High has very low attrition. It is no longer considered a “hard-to-staff” school by the district. “Mission High is famous at the district because it is known as a learning community and a good, supportive place to work,” Soares told me. “It’s hard to get a job here.”

The school does well on a bevy of other metrics, as well. The graduation rate went from among the lowest in the district, at 60 percent, to 82 percent; the graduation rate for African American students was 20 percent higher than the district average that year. Even though close to 40 percent of students are English learners and 75 percent are poor, college enrollment rose from 55 percent in 2007 to 74 percent by 2013. Suspensions plummeted, and in the annual student and parent satisfaction survey from 2013, close to 90 percent said they liked the school and would recommend it to others.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. Standardized test scores went up 86 points, to 641 (out of 1,000) in 2012, but that was still far from California’s target for all schools of 800. The numbers of African American and Latino students in AP math and science classes don’t fully mirror the student body, and their passing rates on the California high school exit exam went down in 2013 and 2014. The work continues, but so does the commitment of teachers to keep at it. “No one here does 7:45 to 3:10 and then calls it quits,” science teacher Becky Fulop, who has worked at Mission High for more than a decade, told me. “That by itself doesn’t necessarily make teachers effective, but the dedication here is extraordinarily high.”

Nationally, there are thousands of struggling schools like Mission where teachers are engaged in similar hard, messy, and slow work. What if instead of spending more money on new rounds of tests, we focused on their ability to learn and lead on the job?

No country has ever turned around its educational achievement by increasing standardized tests, according to research conducted by Lant Pritchett at theCenter for Global Development. The best systems, it turns out, invest in supporting accountability at the school level—like those teacher meetings at Mission High.

“IT’S ALWAYS AN ATTEMPT to hijack the effort by the teacher to think about education,” McKamey told me one morning as we talked about the dozens of reform efforts she’s seen come and go in 27 years of working in inner-city schools. The only thing none of the politicians, consultants, and philanthropists who came in to fix education ever tried, she said, was a systemic commitment to support teachers as leaders in closing the achievement gap, one classroom at a time.

“Let me remind you what analysis is,” she said a few hours later, standing in the middle of her class with those black leather loafers from under her desk. “When I was little, I used a hammer and screwdriver to crack a golf ball open. As I cracked that glossy plastic open, I saw rubber bands. And I went, ‘Ha! I didn’t know there were rubber bands in golf balls. I wonder what’s inside other balls?’ It made me curious about the world. So we are doing the same thing. We’ll analyze the author’s words to dig in deeper.”

The 25 seniors had just finished reading a chapter from The Things They Carried titled “The Man I Killed.” When they were done, McKamey asked them to pick out a quote they found intriguing.

David, a shy, reflective teenager whose face lit up when the class read poetry, raised his hand:

“He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay with one leg bent beneath him, his jaw in his throat, his face neither expressive nor inexpressive. One eye was shut. The other was a star-shaped hole.”

“What do you notice in this passage?” McKamey probed.

“The man the narrator killed is the same age as him,” Roberto commented.

“Exactly,” she replied. “Now you are one step deeper. What do I feel inside when I think of that?”

“Guilt, regret,” Ajanee jumped in.

“That’s right,” McKamey commented. “I personally would use the wordcompassion. But what you said is 100 percent correct. And what does that do when we realize that this man is the same age as us?”

“It makes me think that he’s young, likes girls, probably doesn’t want to fight in a war,” Roberto said.

“Exactly. Now take that even deeper.”

“It’s like he is killing himself?” Roberto said more hesitantly, glancing at her for affirmation.

“Perfect! Now you made a connection,” McKamey said, excitement in her voice. “That’s what this quote is really about. Now, why is O’Brien saying ‘star-shaped hole’? Why not ‘peanut-shaped’ hole?”

Ajanee raised her hand. “The image in his mind is burned.”

“Exactly!” McKamey replied. “O’Brien wants us to keep that same image in mind that he had as a young soldier in his mind. It’s the kind of image you never forget.”